It seems to me that these two words have the same meaning. The dictionary doesn't help much, it gives them as synonyms. Although the meaning of "сейчас" is more general and can refer to past events:

"Мы сейчас смотрели фильм" - We have just seen a movie,

in cases when they both refer to present events, they seem to mean the same:

Я теперь работаю в Microsoft.
Я сейчас работаю в Microsoft.

Is there any difference between сейчас and теперь in case when they refer to the present?

  • Not a native speaker so this may not be accurate. What I was taught is that the simplest way to look at it is that теперь means "about now" or "nowadays" and сейчас means "right now". I'm sure there are many other shades of meaning too.
    – David
    Jun 23, 2022 at 22:14

13 Answers 13


While both words mean now, there is a more-than-slight difference in meanings.

Теперь is used when you want to describe something that takes place from a particular point onwards, for example

теперь это уже не важно
(now it's not important [any more])

Сейчас is used to describe a particular one point in time, without references of inferences to duration, for example

сейчас я занят
right now I'm very busy

As a general rule, you can use теперь whenever in English you could say from point (x) or any more. You can use сейчас when in English you can say right now.


В целом Aleks G правильно ответил, но "сейчас" не всегда означает "в данный момент".

Например, в вопросе автора:

"Я теперь работаю в Майкрософт" — акцентируется, что произошла смена работы, (раньше я работал в другой фирме, а теперь я работаю в Майкрософт)

"Я сейчас работаю в Майкрософт" — нейтральное сообщение факта. Почти равносильно "я работаю в Майкрософт", но уточняет, что когда-то были и другие работы, что этот процесс не длится всю жизнь, а относится именно к настоящему периоду.

На практике "теперь" подразумевает некую новость, так можно сказать человеку, не знавшему о факте смены работы. А "сейчас" можно сказать всегда по отношению к текущей работе.


теперь is used to connect two sentences (one of which may be implied) and is close to conjunction, сейчас is a stand-alone adverb.

The word теперь itself originated from Slavic *то прьво which means "now that".


  1. Сейчас я пойду в магазин.
    I'll go to the shop now.

  2. Теперь (когда я сделал другие дела) я пойду в магазин.
    Now (that I'm done with the other tasks) I'll go to the shop.


I would translate both words as now, and convey the distinction in their meaning by using a different tense:

  1. I work for Microsoft now. (теперь)
  2. I am working for Microsoft now. (сейчас)

An alternative these days could be used in the first translation, but not in the second. The word теперь implies a subtle link to past, while сейчас does not. Compare the two following examples:

  1. Я теперь работаю.
    I work these days/now.

  2. Я сейчас работаю.
    I am working (now).

The first phrase implies that there has been a time in the past when I did not work, while the second phrase does not bear the same implication.


One might also add that сейчас has another connotation, which теперь does not - acknowledgement that a request was received and assurance that the speaker will perform the requested action immediately.

In this sense, сейчас can be translated into English as right away, presently, I'm on my way/I'm coming or even simply yes/okay; it's not dissimilar to the French j'arrive. For example:

A. Коля, иди обедать!
B. Сейчас, мама.

А. Kolya, come eat!
Б. Be right there, mom.

  • My understanding (not a native speaker) is that сейчас in this sense is the proper response to a command in the military. So in that context, an idiomatic translation could be "Yes, sir".
    – David
    Jun 23, 2022 at 22:16

"Сейчас!" is commonly used as "wait a moment" or mockery

  • Pete, come here quickly!
  • Сейчас! (actually Pete is busy and doesn't come right now, but in 2-5 minutes after next call)

Literally, сейчас means "this hour", but used as "now", except the example above.

Sometimes it can be used as a mockery or jesting: - Hey, you, give me your money! - Сейчас! (the person refuses to give the money.)


Well, "теперь" and "сейчас" are usually shades of meaning the word "now". But actually, they're used in different situations.

1) For example, "Мы сейчас смотрели фильм" means it was few minutes ago. And if we say "Теперь мы сможем (наконец-то) посмотреть фильм", it means that was something that distracted us from watching this film.

2) "Я сейчас работаю в Microsoft" means I'm working there now, not exactly this moment, maybe for a while. For example, people meet each other after 5 years and one can ask: "Где ты сейчас работаешь?" and his friend can answer: "Сейчас я работаю в Microsoft". Plus, here is another shade of meaning: he's not sure, that he will continue working in Microsoft.

3) "Я теперь работаю в Microsoft" also have few meanings (in different contexts and with different positions).

  1. First meaning is that this person has worked somewhere else before (in situations like: "- Я помню, ты работал в банке? - Да. Теперь я работаю в Microsoft").
  2. In another situations "теперь" gives to words something like a pride. For example in such situations like: "- А ты? Ты все еще чистишь туалеты? - Нет, я теперь работаю в Microsoft", you see, that before we write the pronoun after an adverb, and now we do it conversely.
  3. And the third meaning I remember is for expressive sentences like: "Теперь мне осталось только пойти и напиться!" - can say the person who has just passed his exams - successfully or not, but here "теперь" is used for increasing the feelings of this person.

The word Теперь is a kind of logical connective and usually requires а context:

Сейчас Россия окончательно созрела для новой революции.
Now Russia finally ripe for the new revolution.

Путин вновь переизбран и теперь Россия окончательно созрела для новой революции.
Putin again resigned. And now Russia finally ripe for the new revolution.


А теперь о главном.
Now I get to the point.

If the previous half-hour conversation was about nothing.


Я сейчас работаю в Майкрасофт. И я счастлив.
I am working for Microsoft now. And I'm happy.

Меня уволили из Гугла. И теперь я вынужден работать в Майкрософт.
I was fired from Google. And now I have to work for Microsoft.

  • I like your examples. However, I personally would translate "I am working for Microsoft now" as "Теперь я работаю на Микрософт". Do you think that "I am now working for Microsoft" is a better example here?
    – Olga
    Nov 9, 2012 at 14:51

У слова "сейчас" может быть еще негативно-ироничный вариант: "Ага, сейчас. Сейчас вот прямо всё брошу и побегу."

  • 1
    Usually we prefer longer and more elaborated answers on short answers. If you can improve your answer by adding detail, context, examples, and backing up with references, this would increase your answer's quality. Poor and/or repetitive answers risk being down-voted and subsequently removed.
    – Alenanno
    Nov 23, 2012 at 18:49

The use of теперь requires a temporal discourse antecedent: "What time is it now? ... And now?" You can only use сейчас to answer the first question, but you can use теперь to answer the second.

  • 1
    Can you please explain what do you mean by saying "temporal discourse antecedent"? What formalism are you using to explain the meaning of this word?
    – Olga
    Nov 11, 2012 at 9:04

"Теперь" usually means there was a change that led to the situation described. "Сейчас" describes the present and doesn't give any information about the past.


  1. Сейчас идет дождь.
    It's raining.

    Раньше было солнечно, а теперь идет дождь.
    It used to be sunny, and now it's raining.

  2. Сейчас у меня нет работы.
    I'm unemployed at the moment. (No information on whether it was always the case.)

    Теперь у меня нет работы.
    Now (unlike before!) I'm unemployed. (A person quit or was fired recently.)

  • I like your answer, but it doesn't seem to add to the answers of other users. According to the rules, duplicate answers are in a danger of being deleted.
    – Olga
    Nov 24, 2012 at 11:45

слово "сейчас" образовано из двух древнерусских слов "сей" и "час" - значит "в это время" или "в этот час (ближайший)" То есть, "сейчас" = "в ближашее время" , и это ещё не свершилось. А "теперь" - это когда уже свершилось.


Для данного примера - наречие "теперь" более конкретное, чем "сейчас". Когда вы говорите "Я теперь работаю в Microsoft" - это вы подчеркиваете, что работа в Microsoft ваша новая (или относительно новая) работа.
А из "Я сейчас работаю в Microsoft" понятно только, что вы сейчас работаете.

Т.е. чтобы точно решить какой вариант более правильный, нужно знать контекст, в котором вы используете это предложение. Более универсальный вариант - "Я сейчас работаю в Microsoft".

  • 1
    Welcome to Russian Language and Usage Beta! While probably being legit, your answer does not seem to add to the answers given by the other users. If you want to support one of the answers given earlier, please up-vote it rather then repost.
    – Quassnoi
    Nov 18, 2012 at 17:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.